Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Perdita” as Want to Read:
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Read Excerpt* *Different edition


3.62  ·  Rating details ·  508 ratings  ·  167 reviews
Marged Brice is 134 years old. She’d be ready to go, if it weren’t for Perdita...

The Georgian Bay lighthouse’s single eye keeps watch over storm and calm, and Marged grew up in its shadow, learning the language of the wind and the trees. There’s blustery beauty there, where sea and sky incite each other to mischief…or worse…

Garth Hellyer of the Longevity Project doesn’t be
Paperback, 448 pages
Published January 20th 2015 by Sourcebooks Landmark (first published April 1st 2013)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Perdita, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Perdita

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
3.62  · 
Rating details
 ·  508 ratings  ·  167 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Jan 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
I loved this book - it wasn't just that it was by a Canadian author and had a Canadian setting - it has a truly Canadian feel (Americans and others, don't let that stop you, it's just a nice change for me).

It was also my favorite sort of mystery and fiction - the sort of mystery where you have an idea of what might happen (as opposed to being completely lost), but are never fully sure; and the kind of fiction that feels like a historical re-enactment on paper.

Wonderful! Highly recommended!
Jan 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of Gothic romance, supernatural stories
Recommended to Jessie by: Won from Goodreads
Perdita is a well written and fascinating life story of a 134 year old woman and the secret of her longevity. Garth Hellyer is entrusted by the woman, Marged Brice with her diaries. Diaries which may hold the secret to her long life.This story has a love story, a hint of the supernatural, and an insight into the life of a young woman in the early 1900's.

I absolutely loved this book and could not put it down, it resulted in late nights and it was worth every moment. Highly recommended!
Stephen Scharper
This is a beautifully written, moving, and compelling story. "Perdita" is engrossing literary fiction, written in the tradition of "Jane Eyre" and "Wuthering Heights."
Hilary Scharper
May 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: author-comment
Praise for Perdita:

• “Canadian author Scharper shines in this surprising and engaging gothic novel... Impeccably researched...and beautifully told, this is a tale that will stay with readers long after the final page is turned.” —Publishers Weekly

• “Scharper's prose in Marged's voice is just as measured, just as alluringly old-fasioned as many a Pulitzer or Orange Prize winner before her... stuningly beautiful... Scharper accomplishes first-rate historical fiction... believable, charming and gen
Sara (Just Another Story)
How to review a book you are not sure you liked. I mean, I didn't not like Perdita By Hilary Scharper, but at the same time I can't decide how I feel about the book. It was odd. And in all honesty left me wanting more. Even though the book itself was rather lengthy at over 400 pages. I was fascinated by the premise of this book when I first looked into it. It sounded like gothic romance with a ghost story thrown in for fun. I initially thought it would sort of be like The Taker trilogy by Alma K ...more
Jul 23, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
I received a copy of Perdita from Simon & Schuster Canada in exchange for an honest review... That was 4 years ago (oopsie), it's taken me that long to get around to reading this book. Partly because I was saving it for a vacation up to the Georgian Bay (the setting of the story) and because I just wasn't hooked.

Marged Brice claims she is 134 yrs old although she does not look very old. Garth Hellyer, a local historian working on a longevity project, is on a mission to find out who Marged re
Nov 04, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Find this and other reviews at: http://flashlightcommentary.blogspot....

Before I get too far ahead of myself, I'd like to give a shout out to Amanda Kain. Hilary Scharper's Perdita didn't work for me, but the cover art is just gorgeous. The ethereal design really captures what the author was going for and even though I wasn't a fan of the book, I concede a certain appreciation for the mysterious and provocative imagery of its jacket.

To get straight to the point, Perdita is one of those pieces I
I won this book as a First Read from Good Reads and was very excited as I do not normally win contests.

I really got into this book and was a bit sad when it ended. I do enjoy when a story weaves the past with the present and uses real places and history as a background like Ms. Scharper has, especially the Tobermory/Bruce Penninsula area. Romance, mystery, ghosts, family and Greek mythology blend to make a sad but lovely tale of love and loss, both past and present. Most of the story is told thr
this is an interesting book and i am wavering between 3 and 4-stars as a rating. parts were beautiful and evocative but there were also some clunky moments where the awkward flow of the writing was challenging my enjoyment of the story. at one point, i felt as though a section/paragraph was missing (need to check with the publisher on that). it is an ARC so there were some glitches with typos but that didn't impact my rating.

we are given several different love stories in this story and quite a l
Jan 02, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mixing mystery, the supernatural, historical fiction, romance, nautical disaster, a sprinkle of Canadiana, and even a small dose of Greek mythology (wow!), Perdita is certainly made up of an unusual combination of elements – but it works!

Set along Canada’s beautiful and wild Georgian Bay coast, the storyline follows a professor as he researches an elderly woman’s unlikely claim that she is 134 years old. Reading her diaries, we alternate between present day and the late 1800’s, where we are draw
Feb 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Perdita is a gripping tale of love, loss and rediscovery spanning three centuries, masterfully weaving narratives of intertwining lives and landscapes. Hilary Scharper's haunting and beautiful prose take us through journal entries and letters which compellingly document the coming of age of a young woman in the 1890s. In reading the pages, we get a rare glimpse into a young woman's inner struggles, her sacred relationship to the stunning tapestry of the Georgian Bay setting, and the timelessness ...more
Jan 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I received a free copy of the book thanks to Goodreads Giveaway.

I found it very well written and it was a pleasure to read it. I simply loved it! The description of Marged's feelings and reactions were always full of sensibility. It is quite hard to choose only one favourite part of the book, but every single time that Marged encountered captain Howarth, I found myself holding my breath and eager to know what was about to happen next. Besides that, I would love to know more about what happened t
I won this book for free from the Goodread's First Reads giveaway.

This is the first book I've read by this author and I really liked it and really enjoyed the author's writing style (well written and well detailed). This book is set in two different times: in the 1890's and in present time. In present time, Professor Garth Hellyer is working on the Longevity Project (finding and interviewing the oldest living people). This is where he meets Marged Brice who claims she is 134 years old; she also
Anne-marie Tynan
I so enjoyed this novel! Hilary Scharper's lovely prose evoked the natural beauty of Georgian Bay and provided a glimpse into the daily life and activities of a light keeper's family during the late 19th century near Tobermory, Ontario.

Ms. Scharper's ability to weave both a memoir from the past with a modern day romance provided the reader with a cast of interesting historical and present-day characters comprised of lively, beautiful and strong women alongside kindly, compassionate, brooding (a
Jan 29, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Perdita" is what you would get if the love child of Charles Dickens and L.M. Montgomery wrote chick lit. Action and emotion are deliberately slow and understated, and though the middle drags somewhat, the last half of the book is as satisfying and interesting as the beginning. The verisimilitude of an epistolary narrative blends well with Montgomery's supernatural love and fear of place. It feels like reading genuine history, to the point where I've been tempted to look up the supporting charac ...more
Oct 02, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I can't say that I really enjoyed this book. The descriptions of the Georgian Bay area and the effect it had on Marged, the main character, were great, and the snippets of the love story made me want to know more. However, the whole allusion to Greek mythology and the ghostly little girl made the story murky for me. I felt the melding of all the threads, plus the modern-day scenes on top of the historical ones, was a little contrived. I did read to the end just to see how it was all pulled toget ...more
Melissa Mcgroarty
I loved the backdrop of Canadian history and geography mixed with the past and present love stories of this novel. Hilary Scharper uses the Gothic elements of the supernatural and romance to give vivid portraits of her historical and modern-day protagonists Marged and Garth as their lives intertwine. Add some references to Greek mythology and Classical literature, all coming together in the various writing styles of journal entries, letters and narratives, and you are left with an incredibly int ...more
Corinne Wasilewski
Too much of a romance for my liking, although, the writing in the journal sections is quite lovely and the Greek mythology adds depth and interest. The book's take-away message: one's attachment to place can rival or even surpass the bonds one shares with family, friends and lovers. Perdita was an apt metaphor for the many loves connected to the novel's protagonist Marged Brice, but, I didn't like the way she was worked into the story. It struck me as contrived, like adding a basement to a finis ...more
Apr 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I can't decide what I loved most about this book, the historical setting, the written journals or just the whole concept of the book. The novel is beautifully written, very interesting and has great descriptions of Georgian Bay. Very refreshing to hit a great story.
What an awesome debut novel from the author. Such a beautiful, emotional story with a mix of romance, historical fiction, adventure and supernatural. If you have ever been to the Georgian Bay area, you will really appreciate this book. This will be one I will re-read for sure.
Jan 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nature. Myth. History. Love. Gothic undertones. All of my favourite story elements wrapped up in one book?! It’s almost as if Perdita was written for me! The story opens with Garth Hellyer, a professor who does work for the Longevity Project by interviewing some of the oldest living people on the planet. Unfortunately, nothing has prepared Garth for Marged Brice, who claims to be a stunningly youthful 134 years old. Convinced to read through Marged’s journals of her life in the late 1890s, Garth ...more
Oct 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
This book had me engrossed by the end of the first page. Perdita is the story of a place, and a person. Marged Brice may be the oldest woman alive at 134 years old, or she may be a confused little old lady. As Garth Hellyer reads through her journals he learns that Marged has a history as rich as the landscape she belongs to, and a mysterious girl named Perdita is part of her legacy.

Garth is working for the longevity project. He is trying to find the oldest person living. His claim needs proof i
Melissa Lee
I received a copy of Perdita by Hilary Shcarper, from the author in return for an honest review.

Garth Hellyer, a historian and writer is doing research in an Ontario nursing home interviewing its residents for a “Longevity Project”, in search for the oldest person in the world. It is here that he is introduced to a woman by the name of Marged Brice, who claims she is 134 years old. The only document of her existence is a birth certificate stating that she was born on November 13, 1878 in Montre
Oct 17, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2014
How old is Marged Brice really? In search for the oldest person in the country for the Longevity Project Garth Hellyer is introduced to Marged Brice. This healthy looking woman claims she is 134 years old and she has her birth certificate to proof it. She also claims she does not mind to die but cannot as she is held back by Perdita
Having the obvious doubts Garth promises her to read her journals in the hope to find out connections he can investigate to support her claim of her age. And who is
Although it is only the beginning of the year, Perdita is certain to be one of my favourite reads of 2015. It was a wonderful reading experience and I had an amazing time watching the mystery around Perdita unfold through Marged’s diaries. The novel had the perfect pace to create and keep a suspense that practically glued me to the book until I finished it.

Concerning the interplay between the present-day and the diary parts, I was pleasantly surprised how well the novel kept them apart in tone
Leone (She Reads too Much Romance)
** This review was submitted to all respectful parties PRIOR to posting it to GoodReads. **

When I was personally invited by the publisher to review this novel I accepted it because judging by the synopsis of the novel I knew that the possibilities of where the adventure would lead me as the reader seemed endless and truthfully such things were. This book is a riveting, stirring tale that contained moments of mystery, romance and along the lines of twists that I was not expecting to uncover.

Garth Hellyer is a historian in charge of the Longevity Project, which is collecting oral histories of the oldest people in Canada. A woman at a nursing home claims to be 134 years old and shows him her birth certificate to prove it. When he is obviously skeptical, she decides to give him her personal journals, which start in 1897 and document the life of Marged Brice. They tell the story of what life was like in the Georgian Bay of Ontario and the Cape Prius Lighthouse at the turn of the centur ...more
Jan 09, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Review take II... I wrote a great one on my iPhone, but accidentally deleted it when trying to correct my typos; now I struggle...

I received this book through a Goodreads giveaway -- thank you Goodreads -- and thoroughly enjoyed it!

Garth Hellyer, a researcher for the Longevity Project discovers a woman, Marged Brice, who claims to be 134 years old. When he visits her, he finds that she has remarkable eyes and the appearance of someone much younger, but he is highly skeptical of her claim to be
Jun 15, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

3.5 stars. I enjoy Canadian writing, and Perdita by Hilary Scharper was no exception. You can tell from the vivid and detailed descriptions of the bay and landscape how much the author loves the land, and this really comes across in the language and the book.

The story begins as Garth, tasked by the Longevity Project, attempts to unearth the mystery of how old the mysterious Marged is. The book was a little slow starting and you are qui
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Away from Everywhere
  • Wolf River
  • A Geography of Blood: Unearthing Memory from a Prairie Landscape
  • Going Home Again
  • Tides of Honour
  • The Nine Lives of Charlotte Taylor
  • Joyland
  • Muse
  • Mount Pleasant
  • The Town That Drowned
  • Creeps
  • Emancipation Day
  • The Purchase
  • The Deserter's Tale: The Story of an Ordinary Soldier Who Walked Away from the War in Iraq
  • The Spawning Grounds
  • My Heart is Not My Own
  • Stony River
  • Extraordinary
See similar books…
Hilary Scharper is a Canadian author, living in Toronto.

Her major published works of fiction include a novel, PERDITA, an "ecogothic" tale based on her experiences at the Cabot Head Lighthouse in Canada; and a short story collection, DREAM DRESSES.
No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »
“To be sure, she is quick and sharp, and she sees things before they do, and that is why men do not like her, because it is not they who have shown her what to think.” 3 likes
“And then, because I did not move and waited with no expectation, I heard the whole forest sigh. It was such a beautiful sound—the wind moving from one end to the other and all the trees stirring as it moved past them so that, all together, they emitted a long, soft, fragrant breath. My eyes filled with tears, for I felt that somehow my pines at home were there with me in that gentle sigh, and that these trees were friends.” 2 likes
More quotes…